Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D, Sebastian, and other friends write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Tuesday is French Catch Day: Sanniez! Richard! Corne! Hassouni! Shadow! Angelito! Cohen! Bordes! Gordon! MANIAK!

Jacky Richard/Albert Sanniez vs Jean Corne/Kader Hassouni 9/3/83

MD: As we close out the 1983 footage, we bid adieu to three of our stalwart friends: Richard, Sanniez, and Corne. There will be a few more Hassouni matches in the collection, which is a good thing as he looked excellent here. They all did, of course, Richard the heatseeking, clubbering, basing malcontent; Sanniez the slicker, hard-hitting, big bumping technician; and Corne the junior hero, smaller and quicker than Corn or Leduc but just as able to carry the crowd. This was a great crowd too with kids who wore their hearts on their sleeves, uppity teenagers who dared to get right up to the ring, and yes, a pro wrestling granny. Lots of chants and big elation for the stylist comebacks.

Given the four we had in there, of course they moved in and out of the holds well for the first ten minutes. The heat came in two parts and the first was a little overwrought as Saulnier had to strain all over the ring to get out of position. He was missing Sanniez's pretty blatant hairpulls (armbar, with the head between the legs, and his hand reaching around the back for the pull). It meant that the first comeback was more about him paying for his transgressions with Sanniez catapulted right into him. The second bit of heat was primarily clubbering and this had a bigger and more direct sort of comeback with Corne sneaking into the ring and through the legs to break up a double team and lead to miscommunication and the finish. As always, it was amazing that Hassouni and Sanniez were able to do some of the things that they were in quick exchanges 20+ minutes in, but that's French Catch for you.

SR: 2/3 Falls match going about 30 minutes. You will know exactly how these go by now. Long, quality face shine chock full of super quick sequences to start, before the heels take over for a beatdown. Faces come back, heels bump like mad and a quick finish happens. After this, the matches we have get pretty wacky, so I guess this is a sort of last hurrah for the classic type of Catch. It was as good as any of these matches you‘ve seen too. Everyone looked pretty old but they had no probably going hard as usual. Richard especially was the most grey and crusty looking dude here but had no problem bumping big and fast and running the ropes. Hassouni was spry and Sanniez had one of his typically good performances. There were also a bunch of rowdy kids and an elderly lady at ringside threatening to storm the ring at the heel tactics of Richard & Sanniez. Maybe for this reason referee Michel Saulnier decided not to do anything fishy here.

Black Shadow vs Angelito (JIP) 2/25/84

MD: Just the last two and a half minutes here of a match that went almost twenty. Angelito and Shadow might have lost half a step but them half a step down was still pretty good for the bits we saw here. I imagine they had started off with a bit more flash and speed. This was pretty evenly worked with holds and rope running and flips about until Angelito bounded up cleverly into a victory roll for the win. From a technological standpoint, they were experimenting with slow-motion replays.

SR: About 2 minutes shown of what looked like a preliminary affair. Angelito has some really nice moves, though.

Marquis Edouard de la Rossignolette vs Georges Cohen 2/25/84

MD: I may have spoken too soon, for the good Marquis, in his fineries, with his medals and his monocle, and his butler "Paul Bart", does have a striking resemblance to Jacky Richard, if you just take out the beard. I do give him some credit for changing his look, his expressions, the way that he moved.

That said, this is going to disappoint people who are into the quicker stuff in the footage, the more technical stuff, AND the slugfests. I'm not going to lie about that. I enjoyed it to a degree, but it was a pale shadow of some of the other examples of the sort we have. It didn't have the manic energy of Duranton and his valet and no one compares well to the size, derision, and high spots of Lasartesse. Moreover, there were just less of the chained together moves or dogged hanging on to holds that you'd get from the tags (even the ones with Richard and Cohen). I do think this would compare quite well to a lot of what was happening in the mid-cards of pro wrestling shows in the States for 1984.

Richard played his character well, got heat, was able to grind down on Cohen. When it was time for him to show ass, he did. He bumped around the ring (but just one bump at a time instead of three), got dropkicked into a hanging in the ropes (replayed nicely with the slowmo), set up some spots for the butler (including Cohen chasing him around the ring, AND a repeat of what we saw in the last 83 tag where Saulnier as ref took a similar kicked away from the ropes and into the center of the ring bump), and even had a truly funny moment: after pulling the corner protector off, Cohen reversed him into it a couple of times and he gingerly tried to put it back on with deep regret. It was funny. So, I think, objectively, this was fine; it was the sort of stuff that Eric and I would write a bunch of words about and be glad that we saw. It just doesn't compare to what was came before, even what came a year before as we had just seen. The biggest sin wasn't a slightly slower pace or less technical back and forth or a lack of rope running; it was that Cohen didn't get more of a heated comeback before the Marquis got himself dqed with a corner crotching. They were getting over the character but I think that would have gone a long way to helping the match overall.

SR: I wonder if the Marquis ever faced the little Prince. This was the first sign of the old catch maestros slowing down. Both guys could still move but they only did the most barebones stuff and there were pauses between each movement. Not good.

Walter Bordes/Flesh Gordon vs Les MANIAK 2/25/84

MD: Flesh was really leaning into the gear here, with the lightning bolt tank top and belt. The Manics had sort of an Espectro, Jr look to them, with big hair and masks, but in grey with red splotches. My gut tells me that one was better than the other but I couldn't say that for sure. This was one fall but still went quite a while. Bordes and Gordon looked good. Les Maniak had one or two big moves (a front facelock drop that was nasty, a huge press up powerbomb type drop that may or may not have been intentional). They worked over Gordon's leg for their control but I'm not sure he had any real intention to sell it. A lot of what Gordon and Bordes threw out was still their tricked out stuff, but maybe things less reliant on their opponents, especially after the early going where there was some miscommunication on fairly simple things and Bordes seemed a little hot at one of the Maniacs. For instance, there was only one extended hold sequence of in and out, but it was a nice one where he kipped up repeatedly in an armbar until he got the headscissors to a big pop. There were a few quite gifworthy sequences in here, stuff that would be more like ten seconds instead of the usual thirty, and the never lost the crowd (Bordes is undeniable and Gordon really understood how to milk a moment for the back row, like when he just hung on a Maniac's shoulders and looked left and right before falling backwards with a Rana), but overall, this definitely felt a little disjointed relative to other matches of its ilk in the collection.  

SR: LES MANIAK. France was going full Catch y Lucha at this point. Apparently, Flesh Gordon was working Mexico in the 70s, so I guess that explains the crossover. This was even more Luchaesque than anything we‘ve seen before. Unfortunately, Les Maniaks, who acted quite sane and calculating, weren‘t very good here. There were several blown spots and their beatdown section dragged on forever. I enjoyed Bordes old man performance as usual. I can‘t tell if Gordon was getting lazier or if he was toning it down due to his opponent not being familiar with him. Anyways, this was charming and entertaining, but needed better rudo bases to work.

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